Thursday, April 19, 2007

Who am I? Why YRG? Why now?

Who am I?

Well, I guess I’m just a regular guy. I think I’ve led a pretty exciting life and I’ve done a lot of things that many folks never will, but I still put my rather tight fitting pants on one leg at a time. I get up and go to work just like everyone else and I have spent the majority of my days caught up in pretty bad habits. This is my story.

I guess I’ve always had bad habits. I’m something of a slob, I really don’t care about a lot of things that get other people in a twist, and I’m lazy. I always hated stick and ball sports because they required lots of effort and pain and some fat sweaty guy barking at you while he chewed a big ol’ wad of tabacky. No, I was into drag racing and hanging out in the garage with my old man. I was a beach bum kid. I was into skateboarding and surfing and riding my bike around town. Video games. Love video games. And junk food, lots of it. My mother, God bless her, tried her darndest to feed my sister and I nutritionally sound and balanced meals but I knew how to get to the store to load up on ice cream, candy, bubble gum, soda, chips and all the other stuff that makes a young boy’s face erupt in a landscape of zits. I yo-yo’d up and down in weight as a kid. Never really made an effort either way, it just sorta happened. I was never really a FAT kid. I was ‘husky’. I managed to stay somewhat slim from junior high through my first few years of college. Then I discovered just how much beer a person could drink in one session. Oh boy. That was the end for me. Adding copious amounts of beer and liquor to lazy with a liberal dose of depression and you get a recipe for disaster. And that’s what I became, a freaking disaster.

It didn’t happen over night. And I thought nothing of it. I mean I needed some new pants anyway so why not just get the next size up…more room to breathe. It got steadily worse and worse and my lifestyle got more and more depraved. I drank and smoked and ate myself stupid for a lot of years. I was miserable, but I had no idea because I lived life in a blurry haze of work, partying, women, concerts, more partying, school, and more partying. I was on a one-way trip to a heart attack.

I’d have to say 1999 was the start of my road to recovery. I had me one of those couch epiphanies. I had gotten fired from my crummy job waiting tables at a big Italian restaurant, I was living on student loans and I had lots of free time and ‘friends’ to find things to hurt myself with. So there I am one afternoon, on the couch, flipping channels and polishing off a steak sandwich and fries. I landed on a ‘before and after’ shot of a guy who really looked fantastic. His before was my reality but man he looked good now. There was a whole panel of ‘afters’ on stage and now I really wanted to know what was going on. There was this Bill Phillips guy talking about how his program had helped all these folks go from flab to fab and so on and so forth. The way he talked spoke right to me and something in me welled up and made a decision to put an end to my self destruction, take control of my life, and meet my potential as a human being, mentally, physically and spiritually.

I went out and bought his book. I dove in and started reading. With every page I was more and more inspired and determined. The pictures and stories were mind blowing and I was right there with every one of them. They spoke to me. I did my research, made my preparations and I went after it 100%. There was nothing that was gonna stop me from being a lean, mean, muscle machine. I took the supplements, I hit the weights, and I killed my self with cardio. I was on fire. And I did it. I lost about 50 lbs, got my 6 pack and I was getting the attention I wanted from the female variety.

So I got another crummy waiter job to get me thru the last part of school. I hadn’t had a beer in 6 months, no soda, no junk, just the fuel my body needed to go the distance. Well that didn’t last. If you know anything about restaurant people, you know that they are notorious party people. I mean, really, the only thing to do when you get off of work after 10 is go to the bar, and then the after party, and then the 24 hr diner. I held my ground for a few months. I would just head straight home after work, get in bed, get up early, hit the gym, all the things that had brought me success. But then came Blondie.

She was young and sweet and had been playing eyes with me since day one. We never really talked much as I really just kinda kept to myself. But one night I found myself sitting with her while we finished up our books for the night. She mentioned that they were all going out and that I should come. What the heck right? So we sat at the bar and had a couple of beers and it was all down hill from there. I was one of the crowd now. And the trips out became more and more frequent, and the quantities grew larger and larger, and before I know it I was back in full stride just like before, except I was still eating right and going to the gym. Well as time wore on and habits got worse and discipline faded away so did my physique, my attitude and my quality of life. I was right back where I started.

Well, I quit that job and Blondie left. I had a new job, lots of money, lots of free time, a new injury (more on that later) and lots of bad habits. It all caught up with me in 2003. My drinking got me a run-in with Johnny Law, a very expensive one. I sat there on the curb quietly laughing at myself. As I sat there I heard the voice of God as clear as day say ‘Its over’. And it was. The game was over. It was time to stop playing games and running from God and get serious about life. My habits were gonna kill me otherwise.

A miracle happened that night sitting there. The Lord took the taste of alcohol right out of my mouth that very instant. I was cold turkey sober for the first time in years. Even though I had three times the legal limit of alcohol coursing thru my system, I was clear minded and at peace. I knew I was busted and that I had to face the music, but it was worth it to me. Every penny.

Fast-forward a couple of months. I was giving a moderate effort to take care of my physical body and I had been faithfully serving God at my church and really making a go at living righteously. It paid off in spades. I met my wife in service one evening. It was certainly written in heaven that we were to be wed. From the first night we went out we were inseparable. We were engaged 6 months later and after a total of 13 months we were man and wife. What a joy it is.
I settled right into the comfort of married life. We make good money and we enjoy it. But we’re also terribly busy people and over the last 2 ½ years have gotten in the terrible habit of eating out and eating late. We eat lots of junk, rich foods, and lots of empty calories, fat, and preservatives. And it shows. My wife has managed to stay rather slim, but I cant even look at a brownie without gaining a pound or two. So I’m right back where I was in 1999, fat, lazy, mildly depressed, out of shape and stiff as a board.

Now mind you, I stayed in the gym for a while, but I learned that the weight bench couldn’t over power bad habits. It was a battle of attrition and I was gaining no ground. In around fall of 2002 while in the weight room, I encountered an awful and still undiagnosed injury. I wasn’t lifting I was reaching. I locked up. And I had an HMO. I got nothing out of the 5 doctors and specialists but offers of prescriptions and months of physical therapy. None of it was of any help because no one could find any evidence of injury. I knew I was hurt because I couldn’t move. I wasn’t making it up and that’s for damn sure. To this day I live in chronic pain that often makes it difficult to work. Most days, given the choice, I’ll just lie on the couch. Moving hurts. Heck, so does not moving, but it hurts far less. I’ve spent over $5000 and hours upon hours with specialists that my insurance won’t cover. I’ve tried almost everything and I’m still in pain.

So I guess the question is why YRG and why now? I guess the simple answer is, why not? What could it possibly hurt to take another stab at regaining my health and possibly watching my pain slip away? I’m rapidly approaching my 35th birthday, I’m almost ready to step up to a size 38, I’m at peak weight, I can’t run more than a few seconds with my dog, and I just feel like crap. I feel all creaky and rickety. I’m 15 years older than I should be. My cholesterol is through the roof and I’m sure my blood pressure could use a step down. I’ve lost 50 lbs before so I know it can be done, what’s more, I know I can do it. I’ve made a run at it a few times over the last couple of years but I came to realize that beyond my injury, I just hate the gym. I hate ‘doing’ cardio.

When I experienced tremendous success using another ‘system’, my life was much different. I was single, had a lax job, and I had the mental capacity to get almost religious about it. But these days I just don’t. What with all the supplements and scheduling and keeping records and buying special this and that, and fighting over equipment at the gym and all that, its enough to drive anyone bonkers. I looked into a few other systems, and they were all variations on a theme, none any simpler that the other, just their own special brand of gimmick. They all led back to the same place, the gym. Could I make time? Yes I could. Do I want to? No I don’t. I really just do not want to go back into the gym and move heavy objects. It aggravates this injury and causes me terrible discomfort. No thank you.

Now, I’ve known more than a couple of yoga practitioners and they’ve all been in pretty good shape. But they’ve also been new –age hippy granola weirdoes. All of my study and research leads to the fact that the practice of yoga provides tremendous physical benefit for even a moderate practitioner, but my personal beliefs just don’t jive with all the of the eastern spirituality so I have just avoided it all together. Then one day I’m cruising the automotive section at the local book seller and as I walk the aisles, here’s a book with DDP (if you don’t watch pro wrestling, look it up) on the cover and the words ‘yoga’ and ‘regular guy’. I thought it had to be some kind of gimmick so I picked it up and started thumbing thru it. The funny thing was that it all made sense. I had done a little ‘power yoga’ as part of a past routine so I was familiar with some of the poses and I know from experience that its not as easy as it may look, so I kept reading. The more I read the more it lined up with my personal experience, knowledge, study and research. In my head it all just sorta clicked. I mean I can find 20 minutes in my day if it means getting my flexibility, circulation and cardio back. If I can start moving without groaning and creaking I can find 45. If I can go for a run with my wife or ride a skateboard with my nieces, I can find 60. I already have the nutritional knowledge and it’s not that big of a deal to give up the burgers and pizza, my wife already likes eating like that anyway. I can do it on the road and I don’t have to leave the house or look at hairy man butt in the locker room. This is doable

So what next? Goals. Goals my man. Gotta have goals. As for me, my goal is to lose 50 lbs by Dec 31 (but I’m hoping for Nov 9) and to be able to put my forehead on my knees with my legs flat against the floor. Not at all unreasonable if you ask me. I already have the tools deep down inside. It’s just a matter of taking them out, dusting them off and putting them to work. Discipline. It’s going to take a ton of discipline.

I’ll keep you posted.